Columbia University on 8 May announced the 2023 Pulitzer Prizes, awarded on the recommendation of the Pulitzer Prize Board. Coverage of the Ukraine war and the intense debate in the US over abortion dominated the awards.
The Pulitzer Prizes were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917, the Pulitzer website said.
The 18-member Pulitzer Board is composed of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the arts. The dean of Columbia’s journalism school and the administrator of the prizes are non-voting members. The chair rotates annually to the most senior member or members.
The 2023 Pulitzer Prize winners are:
Associated Press, for the work of Mstyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka, Vasilisa Stepanenko and Lori Hinnant.
Courageous reporting from the besieged city of Mariupol that bore witness to the slaughter of civilians in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Breaking News Reporting
Staff of the Los Angeles Times
For revealing a secretly recorded conversation among city officials that included racist comments, followed by coverage of the rapidly resulting turmoil and deeply reported pieces that delved further into the racial issues affecting local politics.
Staff of The Wall Street Journal
For sharp accountability reporting on financial conflicts of interest among officials at 50 federal agencies, revealing those who bought and sold stocks they regulated and other ethical violations by individuals charged with safeguarding the public’s interest.
Caitlin Dickerson of The Atlantic
For deeply reported and compelling accounting of the Trump administration policy that forcefully separated migrant children from their parents, resulting in abuses that have persisted under the current administration.
Anna Wolfe of Mississippi Today, Ridgeland, Miss.
For reporting that revealed how a former Mississippi governor used his office to steer millions of state welfare dollars to benefit his family and friends, including NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
John Archibald, Ashley Remkus, Ramsey Archibald and Challen Stephens of AL.com, Birmingham
For a series exposing how the police force in the town of Brookside preyed on residents to inflate revenue, coverage that prompted the resignation of the police chief, four new laws and a state audit.
Caroline Kitchener of The Washington Post
For unflinching reporting that captured the complex consequences of life after Roe v. Wade, including the story of a Texas teenager who gave birth to twins after new restrictions denied her an abortion.
Staff of The New York Times
For their unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including an eight-month investigation into Ukrainian deaths in the town of Bucha and the Russian unit responsible for the killings.
Eli Saslow of The Washington Post
For evocative individual narratives about people struggling with the pandemic, homelessness, addiction and inequality that collectively form a sharply-observed portrait of contemporary America.
Kyle Whitmire of AL.com, Birmingham
For measured and persuasive columns that document how Alabama’s Confederate heritage still colors the present with racism and exclusion, told through tours of its first capital, its mansions and monuments–and through the history that has been omitted.
Andrea Long Chu of New York magazine
For book reviews that scrutinize authors as well as their works, using multiple cultural lenses to explore some of society’s most fraught topics.
Nancy Ancrum, Amy Driscoll, Luisa Yanez, Isadora Rangel and Lauren Costantino of the Miami Herald
For a series of editorials on the failure of Florida public officials to deliver on many taxpayer-funded amenities and services promised to residents over decades.
Illustrated Reporting and Commentary
Mona Chalabi, contributor, The New York Times
For striking illustrations that combine statistical reporting with keen analysis to help readers understand the immense wealth and economic power of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Breaking News Photography
Photography Staff of Associated Press
For unique and urgent images from the first weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the devastation of Mariupol after other news organizations left, victims of the targeting of civilian infrastructure and the resilience of the Ukrainian people who were able to flee.
Christina House of the Los Angeles Times
For an intimate look into the life of a pregnant 22-year-old woman living on the street in a tent–images that show her emotional vulnerability as she tries and ultimately loses the struggle to raise her child.
Staff of Gimlet Media, notably Connie Walker
Whose investigation into her father’s troubled past revealed a larger story of abuse of hundreds of Indigenous children at an Indian residential school in Canada, including other members of Walker’s extended family, a personal search for answers expertly blended with rigorous investigative reporting.
Books, Drama and Music
Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)
A masterful recasting of “David Copperfield,” narrated by an Appalachian boy whose wise, unwavering voice relates his encounters with poverty, addiction, institutional failures and moral collapse–and his efforts to conquer them.
Trust, by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead Books)
A riveting novel set in a bygone America that explores family, wealth and ambition through linked narratives rendered in different literary styles, a complex examination of love and power in a country where capitalism is king.
English, by Sanaz Toossi
A quietly powerful play about four Iranian adults preparing for an English language exam in a storefront school near Tehran, where family separations and travel restrictions drive them to learn a new language that may alter their identities and also represent a new life.
Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power, by Jefferson Cowie (Basic Books)
A resonant account of an Alabama county in the 19th and 20th centuries shaped by settler colonialism and slavery, a portrait that illustrates the evolution of white supremacy by drawing powerful connections between anti-government and racist ideologies.
G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century, by Beverly Gage (Viking)
A deeply researched and nuanced look at one of the most polarizing figures in U.S. history that depicts the longtime FBI director in all his complexity, with monumental achievements and crippling flaws.
Memoir or Autobiography
Stay True, by Hua Hsu (Doubleday)
An elegant and poignant coming of age account that considers intense, youthful friendships but also random violence that can suddenly and permanently alter the presumed logic of our personal narratives.
Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020, by Carl Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
A masterful collection that chronicles American culture as the country struggles to make sense of its politics, of life in the wake of a pandemic, and of our place in a changing global community.
His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice, by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking)
An intimate, riveting portrait of an ordinary man whose fatal encounter with police officers in 2020 sparked an international movement for social change, but whose humanity and complicated personal story were unknown. (Moved by the Board from the Biography category.)
Omar, by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels
Premiered on May 27, 2022 at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., an innovative and compelling opera about enslaved people brought to North America from Muslim countries, a musical work that respectfully represents African as well as African American traditions, expanding the language of the operatic form while conveying the humanity of those condemned to bondage.